George Gidella (65), Harry Wells (69), Clarence Headly (70) and Bill Harvey (67) are invoking European Community law in a bid to get round the fact that they cannot take their case to industrial tribunal because they are all over 65.
Whether the case goes ahead is likely to hinge on the decision of the employment appeal tribunal, which later this year will hear the case of the first British worker to succeed in an unfair dismissal claim over the age of 65.
James Nash, a warehouse manager who was sacked at the age of 69 by the Mash/Roe Group, won his case for unfair dismissal at an industrial tribunal last February. If the EAT upholds this decision they way will be opened for many similar cases.
The council disputes this, insisting that the men were retired because of the council's official retirement age of 65. The council inherited the staff when it took over the bus contract from a private company, and a spokesman said the men, who were 'good, valued workers', were kept on until this year for operational reasons.